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I believe that ministry leaders would greatly benefit from taking the occasional field trip to neighbouring churches both within and outside their denominational tribe.

March 10, 2016 0 0 comments
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For our next installation in the series introducing the staff of Faith Formation Ministries, we would like to introduce you to Sandy Swartzentruber, Creative Resource Developer.

March 9, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

The Building Blocks project, based on work done by Bob and Laura Keeley, is one of the recent and exciting initiatives being promoted by Faith Formation Ministries in the CRC.

March 7, 2016 0 4 comments
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Today, we continue our series introducing the staff of Faith Formation Ministries. Now it's time to get to know Communications Strategist, Paola.

March 1, 2016 0 0 comments
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How do you disciple a new believer? Jesus recognized that the people He encountered were at different stages of growth and development, and He worked to challenge each of them to the next level. 

February 23, 2016 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Telling faith stories is a powerful way to share what God is doing in our community, our churches, and our homes. Has your church developed any unique storytelling traditions or practices that other churches could adapt? 

February 23, 2016 1 0 comments
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In our series introducing you to the staff of Faith Formation Ministries, I would like you to meet Karen De Boer, Creative Resource Developer, from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. 

February 22, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar provides guidelines to help congregations minister to high school students preparing for graduation and offer helpful tips on how to care for students once they are in college or at a university.

February 16, 2016 0 0 comments
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Growing up in a Christian Reformed Church, I can’t say that I was very aware of the season of Lent. 

February 8, 2016 1 0 comments
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Despite ongoing rejection from the people—and Jeremiah’s own personal feelings of desperation—he continued to obey God. How can we learn to practice this kind of trust in our lives? 

January 25, 2016 4 1 comments
Blog

Derek Atkins has been a part of Faith Formation since it began as a pilot project in 2013. Read about how his own faith journey shapes the work he does today. 

January 12, 2016 3 0 comments
Blog

Today I'd like to introduce you to Mike Johnson, Regional Catalyzer for Classis Central Plains and the western United States. Mike likes to help people and churches move past challenges! 

January 5, 2016 1 3 comments
Discussion Topic

Recently I’ve noticed a trend in which people are choosing a theme word, or couple of words, to focus on throughout the year. Is this something you have done or would consider doing?

January 4, 2016 3 14 comments
Blog

I tried to go about my business but phrases from their conversation made me think, “Ah, these are ministry people.” I wondered, are these guys listening to the students they hope to impact?

December 21, 2015 0 0 comments
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Meaningful contact between older adults and young people in North America has become increasingly uncommon. Church seems to be the final frontier that cultivates such natural interaction. 

December 14, 2015 1 0 comments
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There are times where I'm just not red hot like these other great people of faith. I've learned it's okay to be beige in my spirituality. We're all wired different, with unique spiritual gifts.  

December 8, 2015 1 2 comments
Q&A

It's Ministry Question Monday and we're excited to share with you the FIRST featured ministry question! Now that we have the question, let's start the discussion. 

December 7, 2015 1 2 comments
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We aren't invited to enforce our 'rightness' on others. We are invited to submit. To humble ourselves. When we become experts at that, the Kingdom advances.

December 4, 2015 3 3 comments
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As leaders or parents, we have an incredible opportunity when it comes to discipleship in the times when pop culture mends (or blends) its way into our lives and the lives of our children and teens.

November 25, 2015 1 0 comments
Blog

Last week I encountered three different people. Three people with their own stories and their own complicated relationships with the Church. How can the CRC be a community to these people?

November 23, 2015 3 4 comments
Resource, Story or Testimony

Here are two great resources that will help you interact with the Christmas story — one in a way that is festive and fun — the other in a way that is more quiet. 

November 19, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Devotional

ReFrame Media has designed a special (free!) Advent devotional series, Waiting In Expectation, to help you see God's story in your life.

November 18, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

Youth ministry programs and intergenerational faith formation together build sturdy discipleship. This webinar examines the many ways that a congregation blesses its teens.

November 17, 2015 0 0 comments
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Whether you are with new friends or familiar faces this Thanksgiving, we pray these cards will help you and your guests deepen your thankfulness to God and love for one another. 

November 16, 2015 0 0 comments
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Faith isn't always taught. Often times, faith is absorbed. It is formed at the kitchen table when the family talks to one another. It is formed in how a father treats the child.

November 16, 2015 1 0 comments

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Sounds great Pete. Would you be willing to share your document? It would be fun to see a few membership class samples! 

Something I designed years ago has served me well even with adaptations in different churches.   A four-week (4 hour) class entitled "Believing to Belonging"   Week #1 -" Believing"  Basic on faith.  Verses from Ephesians and Romans.  I also teach "the Bridge" and have them place themselves someplace around the great Chasm.  Week #2 - "Believing part B"   This week I go over Reformed thought and doctrines. I review the Creeds and Confessions.  Week #3 "Belonging part A -   What does it mean to belong to a denomination and what is the CRC?    Week #4 - "Belonging part B"   - I talk about our specific church... its dreams, vision, and ministries.  Practical stuff.      Each week we keep it highly relational and tell some stories and most participants ask a lot of questions.  NO lecture.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your great ideas and experience!

 

Allow me to share our experience on the mission field in Mexico where we work with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. We constantly offer a new members class called "Inicios" or "Beginnings" at our 11 a.m. Sunday School hour. The class runs for four months so we offer it three times per year. 

 

The course starts with the big questions: What does it mean to be a Christian? Who is God? What is our problem? Who is Jesus? What does Jesus do? How to receive salvation? We teach on justification, sanctification, adoption. From there we move to some sessions on the denomination and some Reformed history. From there we move to our local church: our values, how to grow in grace, areas to serve, our ministries, meaning of sacraments, importance of covenant, etc. And we end with the membership questions to asked at one's public profession of faith.

 

The course neither guarantees membership nor obligates anyone. If, at the end of the course, people would like to make their public profession of faith and be baptized (if not baptized before), then they fill out a membership sheet, meet with the elders and then set a date. We have almost all new folks go through the same course: new believers and those from other churches, although the needs are different. Also covenant youth raised in the church take the course prior to their profession of faith.

Rev. Ben Meyer

Seymour CRC (Grand Rapids, MI)

Missionary to Guadalajara, Mexico with CRWM

Staci,

Thanks for the article on summer (self-created) busy stress. It fit me to a T also. Good thing Bible study starts up soon!   It has been a jam-packed summer -  swimming, a Whitecaps game, showers/weddings, sisters' outings, Girls Night Out, picnics and more. You're right about trying to pack it all in! Here's to a more restful fall with time for Bible study.  

Thanks again!

 

 

 

Thanks, Sam, this is a great topic and one that I hope people will comment on. When I revised our membership process a little while ago there was a dearth of materials about the topic. I found one very good book, called Membership Matters, I think, but not a whole lot else. 

My "working" process (always open to change) is based on CS Lewis' image of the Christian faith as a great house with many hallways and rooms. The first session is about belonging to Christ and is a presentation of the gospel. The second is about the biblical nature of the church and what it means biblically to be a member of a church. The third session is about the "hallway" of Reformed theology, history and practice and the last is about the "room" that is our own church. I also sometime show a video about infant baptism if this is a topic of discussion. I would love to hear what others do.

I'm a little surprised that our denomination doesn't have a simple "welcome to the CRC" type of video that could be shown to prospective members, at least not one that I've found. This wouldn't have to be a big DVD production, just a simple Internet video. I think it would fill a real gap.

 

 

Hi Joe, 

The best resource I can think of is one that was designed to be a two part workshop that a church would offer on the Lord's Supper. The reason it comes to mind for your situation is because the first workshop is all about baptism and the second workshop connects baptism to the Lord's Supper. It was designed to be something that families would attend together and which would be led by a pastor or elder or other congregational leader. It's called Taste and See and is sold in a downloadable format. Click here to read a sample.   It does require some gathering of supplies but what I love about it is that it's very hands-on and interactive. 

Another idea you might want to check out is Children at the Table which is a resource Tom Bomhof from Fleetwood CRC created as a way to teach children about the Lord's Supper. It's also a 2 part workshop and the first session touches on baptism. It's great too!

Finally, here's a link to "We Baptized Vivian!" an article which contains some ideas from other churches on ways to make baptism a special celebration. 

Hope that helps! 

Completely agree, Bonnie. It's so easy to do. Thanks for sharing!

 

A good reminder not to neglect those things that truly feed your soul and lead to peace

What if we viewed more events in the Christian life as commissioning services? What if, rather than scrapping the idea of commissioning people altogether, we emphasized in other events how we are being sent. We could incorporate acknowledging, blessing, and celebrating into baptism, profession of faith, graduation and regular celebrations of communion. 

Perhaps we don't stop commissioning elders and missionaries, pastors and mission teams but rather acknowledge the significance of these moments of sending. Significant parts of a significant life. 

 

Getting a package is such a tangible way to feel loved! I think it's really cool that churches are finding such unique ways to stay connected to college kids. I'm also going to check out SoulFeed; sounds like a really neat idea. 

Thanks for sharing!

One of the old time hymns of David has a line about going to the Temple to fulfill our vows. To me, it is a very important concept of faith formation. I get a good "gut feeling" when in a church even when the sanctuary is empty.

For me, theology is a kind of grounding.  When I think about the Heidelberg Catechism, it draws Scriptural truths together to show what the Ten Commandments, the Apostle's Creed and the Lord's Prayer mean for our everyday lives.  It keeps us focused on what church is about so that we don't just glide along with whatever culture throws at us.  

Theology is literally the study of God.  In many North American churches, the emphasis is on the individual and how he can find success and answers to prayer.  How can we worship One that we do not know?  How can we be a community of faith that builds each other up?  The answers come in our understanding of God and subsequently our understanding of who we are in relation to Him.

I've found that it has helped some people when I point out that theology (literally "God-Words") is simply the choices we make when trying to communicate about our God. We are well aware that the reality of God far surpasses our knowledge of Him. We ought to also be aware that our relational knowledge of God often surpasses our own ability to express that knowledge through words, art, or otherwise. So we do our best to make choices that will best reveal what we can of God to the person(s) we're communicating with. Over time Christians have learned some very insightful ways of speaking of very deep things about God. We should respect that while recognizing that sometimes words that mean one thing to me might mean something very different to another person - especially those raised in significantly different cultures or circumstances. Also, God has chosen not to give every person the exact same experience of Him. So, for instance, the irresistible grace of TULIP speaks closely to my experience of God - for someone to deny that simply makes no sense to me, I have experienced it to be true. Moreover, I know that many others have had a similar experience, and that people passionate about it have dug deeply into the Scriptures to see if God has revealed Himself as acting that way (and He has!). 

So, everyone has a theology. They have experiences and beliefs about God that they would talk about in a certain way - that is essentially what theology is. A wise person learns to broaden their own experiences of God by seeking out others as well, and their theology will grow. 

Sometimes I think we need to back down a little from trying to assess between denominations what is "right" language versus "wrong" language, and deal instead with "is this Scripturally appropriate language?" There are other Christian theologies I admit to being Scripturally appropriate even though they don't jive nearly as well with my own experience and may therefore be hard to conceptually reconcile with Reformed theology (which does fit my experience!). 

Upon re-reading the question I would like to add the following:

 

And a man went up to New York from McBain and upon arriving in that great city he entered into a famous 5 star restaurant. It being Tuesday he ordered what he always ordered back in McBain on Tuesday: a hamburger with fries.

A teacher of the law happened to see him ordering the hamburger with fries at the 5 star restaurant, and said unto the man: Do you not know what great delicacies are available here for the asking, prepared by the great masters of culinary art?

And the man replied: If they are anything like the liver and onions they serve at the diner back in McBain, I’ll pass. Besides, it’s Tuesday, and on Tuesday I always eat a hamburger with fries.

 

This is, of course, a familiar predicament to a significant number of Christians who move to different parts of the country at one time in their lives or another. They will not always find a CRC there. When that happens, what are the options?

 

Some elect to drive great distances on Sunday to be able to attend the nearest CRC. While there is a certain comfort in maintaining familiar traditions and upholding teachings that are consistent with things we learned in our family of origin, there is also a price. Undoubtedly, the opportunity to fully engage in the life of the congregation will be greatly hindered by the physical distance from where most of the other church people live. No joining a midweek Bible study. No serving on committees or task forces that require regular physical contact. Hopefully, the CRC pastor appreciates his Reformed heritage, or else you would do a lot of driving for something you could find a lot closer.

 

I am familiar with at least one couple who elected to worship closer to home, and join a different denomination, in fact, one where adult baptism was a requirement for full membership. The husband had been CRC all his life, and an elder many times. He did not take the transition lightly. I remember him telling me that he could relate a bit to Ruth when she told Naomi: “Your people will be my people, and your way of serving God will be my way” (TPV) He saw his re-baptism as a symbolic gesture to respond graciously to the warm welcome he and his wife had received in the new non-CRC church. He eventually served on the elder board in the new church as well, and was able to engage other members in fascinating conversations about theological differences they never would have had otherwise.

 

A key issue is what you value most about your church membership. If you need the regular face time with real live people who share your love for the Lord and can encourage you on your journey with God, you may be able to get past some theological differences, especially if there still is significant agreement on the things that matter. John Calvin himself distinguished between essential and nonessential points of doctrine.

 

If, on the other hand, your faith is particularly nurtured by your study of the finer points of Reformed theology, it may be harder for you to listen to a pastor preach weekly from a non-Reformed perspective. If your Reformed world-and-life view has taught you to see Christ, and Christians, as agents of God transforming culture, you would be less comfortable being told from the pulpit that Christians must separate themselves from culture and live as far away from the temptations of this evil world as possible, as is the view of many Anabaptist congregations.

 

I trust you are aware that these days you can have the best of both worlds. Worship and fellowship with Christians who love Jesus, close to your home. And study God’s word to your hearts content with fellow Reformed believers on the internet. When opportunities arise to compare notes with non-Reformed fellow worshipers at your non-CRC church, you may be able to contribute new insights for their understanding of their faith, even as you may be able to see some things in ways you never saw them before. And God will smile on both of you!

 

Elizabeth Drescher says that "social media is the landscape of communication."

We can grow in faith through social media in the same way that we grow through school, work, and family. 

Thanks for sharing this, Libby! This article about the church allowing kids to use social media was really interesting. I especially liked this line: Today’s youth are online – this is where they form relationships, tell their stories and live a significant portion of their lives, including their faith lives. It's a great idea to meet youth where they already are! 

Interesting question Bill. I'm not sure I get the sales pitch angle you are getting at since we aren't "selling" anything in an effort to make money. 

And yes, the "real" work of forming faith is done by God (see, for example Eph 2:8). However we are called to nurture faith in each other as covenant communities who promise at each person’s baptism to “love, encourage, and support . . . by teaching the gospel of God’s love, by being an example of Christian faith and character, and by giving the strong support of God’s family in fellowship, prayer, and service.” These relational and communal acts of faith formation are part of the discipleship process... things that occur as we look for ways to invest in each other’s lives and live into our identity in Christ together. Our lives are constantly being shaped by God, and part of our responsibility as lifelong disciples is to be looking for ways to be used by the Spirit to help others be “formed, transformed, and conformed to the image of Christ,” as Holly Allen writes. That may be by teaching Sunday School, mentoring a teenager, helping parents nurture faith in their kids, leading an adult bible study, hosting a missional community, serving together, etc. 

So we help leaders in congregations who are charged with helping people of all ages grow in their faith (in all the ways that happens). Does that help? 

 

 

Exactly what does "faith formation" mean? In this century, how is it different from a sales pitch? Isn't it the Holy Spirit that "does" "faith formation?"

Thanks, Derek!

That "new website" mentioned above is live! Check us out over at http://www.crcna.org/FaithFormation

I was in Marketing & Design before seminary, and I’ll a give you credit on the boy band/Church allegory –not on “transparency” but on “authenticity.” 1D makes NKOTB look cheap today because 1D can SING. True, kids today are mostly ‘over’ the hype of ‘80s/‘90s pre-programmed bands, but that doesn’t keep some promoters from still using the tactic to sell music & culture. It’s the genuine rooted musicianship of 1D that sells their music, and that will always connect with people more deeply than the plastic coating some groups (and congregations) adopt.

More important than Facebook posts and hashtags, the Church needs to operate in the joy of our calling as reconciled sinners telling other sinners about our Reconciler. Everything else the Church tries to do to “sell” herself and her Lord to the popular culture is costumes and fancy dancing.

Since the crc has lost a sizeable number of members since 1992, it would seem strange to pat its self on the back for its pride.  The incompleteness of some evangelical theology for evangelicals will not help the crc for the incompleteness of its obedience.  You can't make yourself look better by making someone else look worse.  It is easy to say that one is more scriptural, if you yourself revise an understanding of scripture into incomprehensibility, or into relativity, or into irrelevance.  The eternal issues of whether God chooses us or we choose Him cannot be legitimized by excuses for disobedience, nor will a correct theoretical understanding of the trinity compensate for a lack of faith and trust in the God who redeems and commands. 

I wish the article contained some Biblical references to support the position. We know that God placed us in the world to influence the world and not to become like it (John 17:14-16).  But when we begin to adopt to the system and practice of the world, we have compromised, weakened and perhaps corrupted our influence.  In the language of Jesus, we have lost our saltiness (Matthew 5:13).  The bottomline is: As Christians, our faith and practice should be directed by Scripture alone; otherwise we have deviated from "Sola Scriptura" and fallen prey to the trap of "relevance."        

posted in: Redeeming Halloween

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mario. And no insult to vet's is intended--thank you for serving our country!

posted in: Redeeming Halloween

Thank you for how you shared your thoughts on this and how you can use this to share the light of Jesus. I know for myself, my wife and i battled over it for years as our children grew. At our previous church and our current church they have provided alternative options for different reasons, the first being safety and for my current church more of an outreach that brings people onto our campus that typically wouldn't come. We provide information about our church and its programs like Cadet's, Gem's and youth programs along with a great evening of trunk or treats, bouncers and food court. (food court-local cub scout fund raiser) We us this to open ourselves to our local community and share the love of Jesus and invite them to an event that will last for eternity. Great post, i did feel a bit insulted as you would lump Veteran's Day with Halloween as i am a US Army Veteran, blessings to you and may you continue to shine the Light in your community for Jesus.

posted in: Redeeming Halloween

I was so relieved to see at the end of the article, the awareness of the coincidence (not) with Reformation Day.  On almost the cusp now of the 500th Anniversary of that historic happening, we should redouble efforts to both educate the next generation and also figure out how we are going to engage our Roman Catholic neighbors constructively.  

 

posted in: Redeeming Halloween

Thanks, Shannon! This is really helpful.

posted in: Redeeming Halloween

Being a drummer, this caught my attention.  Great talk!  Good insight about ritual.  (Though very little (none?) drumming language or imagery!)

Dave Vroege, Halifax

Hey Joshua,  Thanks for your short article in regard to the pressure of raising kids.  It's certainly not an easy task.  My mother in law once said, you never know if you've done it right until they are grown up.  Of course, doing our best as parents doesn't insure success.  Many a parent can attest to that.  I think the best a parent can do is not pressuring our kids (to read their Bibles) but to simply set the example for them by our own lives.  That is perhaps hardest for a minister, as he is expected to study the Bible daily in his role of being a minister.  If he doesn't (and it happens) how can it be expected of others to follow his lead or instruction.  Does your wife also study her Bible daily, as an example.  The reality is, that even ministers and their spouses, tire of Bible study at times.  How can we expect any more of our children?  Be patient and enjoy your children at each stage of their lives.  And trust God.

posted in: Pressure?

Hi Karen,

Thank you for the guidance.  This litany will do nicely!

Peace to you!

--Leon

Hi Leon, 

On the Dwell curriculum site there is a free downloadable Commissioning Litany that might be helpful. I love it because it involves children too!  Here's the link: http://dwell.faithaliveresources.org/_downloadables/_pdf/topics_for_coordinators/3_Commissioning_Litany.pdf

Karen De Boer, Discipleship and Faith Formation Ministries, CRCNA

 

 

Hello Jolanda,

Thank you for this article.  Just what I needed to hear as we begin another season of Sunday School in our local church!  I agree: the best gift we can give our students is a love for God's Word and a transformed self.

Say, we are having a Sunday School kick-off this Sunday.  Do you have any prayers and blessings for such an occasion?

Thank you kindly and God bless!

--Leon H. Johnston

Lacombe, AB

Long time ago Someone wrote that a congregation should be measured by the songs they sing, not the statement of faith. If that is true then most congregations are vacation bible school mentality at best.

An area that is worth watching is faith in the workplace, in which there are several good blogs going. For example the work section of The High Calling (http://www.thehighcalling.org/work) and the Theology of Work site (http://www.theologyofwork.org/) which is not strictly a blog, but publishes short and timely articles from the site in their Facebook page. I have also just published a new blog post in my own Faith@Work blog (http://faithatworkplace.blogspot.com).

Also, may I be cheeky enough to plug my upcoming CRC Webinar on the subject, called "Every Square Inch" at Work? This is a general area of faith formation in which the church, and especially CRC, could do far more to equip its members to live out God's Kingdom calling in their everyday occupations.

This is awesome, Shannon! Our church is hoping to launch some interest groups this season and my desire is to see these spaces be places where those who are older and younger can build lasting relationships that open up space for meaningful conversation and story sharing! 

Great post, Shannon! I think sometimes we try too hard to make intergenerational ministry happen. Yours is a great example of the organic nature of how God works in our midst when we aren't even trying to make things happen.

This isn't specifically for intergenerational trips, but our church recently sent it's high school youth group to Mexico on a mission trip. The youth director paired all of the students going with prayer partners, older folks in the church, many of whom were very generous in supporting the kids financially to go. She also had the kids in Wednesday evening children's ministries make cards for the youth going on the trip (6 weeks before they left). This got the younger kids interested in the trip, too. So when the youth director was thinking of a fund raiser, she put together a dinner at the church, that the youth sold tickets for. The price was a bit steep for many folks ($20/adult, $10/kid, and 5 and under free), but more than 100 people showed up, and it was an intergenerational group, from young families to seniors. Many people paid more than the ticket price to support the trip.

The meal for the dinner was prepared by a few of the boys in the youth group, interested in cooking and baking, under the shepherding of a man in the church who loves grilling. There were ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork sandwiches, homemade rolls, coleslaw, and macaroni and cheese. The rest of the youth group pitched in with set-up and tear-down and serving, and everyone pitched in to promote it. The whole church really took ownership of the fund raising. It was good to see!

One thing I found interesting about this study was that it pointed to the importance of the quality of the parent/child relationship in passing on our faith. It's important that we are intentional about talking with our kids about God but it may be even more important that our interactions with them be characterized by openness, affection, grace, and love--qualities that reflect God's heart for them too. It is nice to know that just loving our kids well helps them to love and admire the God we adore. 

This is great! Thanks for sharing.

posted in: Youth

Thanks for sharing this Louis. 

posted in: Youth

I read your post, Roger, and I'm glad you're keeping this interesting conversation alive! I agree that our society puts all the attention on us, and baptism is really about what God is doing, not what we are doing... But I don't think that alleviates the problem that Howard is describing. Memories shape us and help to form our faith, so I am deeply interested in helping my kids and our church find ways to acknowledge the meaning of baptism and remember and hold onto it in personal ways, faith shaping ways. Pointing to infant baptism as something GOD is doing is itself a hurdle that makes it different from infant dedication. Our ways of remembering our baptism should focus on that message of remembering God's work in our lives and God's faithfulness in our community and through the generations.  

I know this article is rather dated, so perhaps the comments that come in this late will never even be read.  But as I see it, infant baptism isn't the problem, but rather believer's baptism, or the idea of infant baptism being the only form of baptism that is done in a church (is the problem).  Because baptism, say in a Baptist church, is considered a sign of one's faith by which they have taken hold of Christ.  It is more of a sign of an individual's action and a sign of when they themselves came to faith in Christ.  Whereas in the Reformed tradition, baptism is a sign of God's action.  It's really about God and not about me.  But in our egotistical society, we tend to put ourselves at front and center and want markers of what we have done, so believer's baptism does more to feed that kind of mentality; it draws attention to me.  So in our Reformed tradition we have to be careful not to feed such a mentality and emphasis. Salvation is about God, not about me.  More could be said, but seeing as this will likely never be read, I'll leave it at that. 

Thank you for sharing this, Laura! I like the idea of honoring the small occasions in our family's life. Our oldest child recently graduated the eight grade, and her school doesn't have a ceremony or anything to mark it, but I have been wondering how our family might mark, even in a small way, this milestone in her life as she sets of for high school. I am eager to check this book out.

This book inspired me to start a new family tradition for Pentecost! I like the ideas involving kites and wind that the author suggested for Pentecost, but I've always noticed a certain flower that blooms in the spring that reminds me of a flame. So my family (which includes my husband and two-year-old daughter) planted an orange celosia plumosa flower as we talked about the Pentecost story. Then we sang a simple song that I learned through the Little Lamb's curriculum which is set to the tune of the Farmer in the Dell: 

The birthday of the church! 

The birthday of the church! 

We celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the church!

The wind was very strong

The Holy Spirit came,

Disciples told of Jesus love and praised his holy name! 

We will probably outgrow that song as my kids grow up, but I hope to continue planting the flower each year! Now it sits in a pot near our deck reminding us of the important day when the Holy Spirit came in a new way. My daughter waters it while she plays with her water table and sings the Pentecost song! 

 

Thank you, Laura, for this lovely post on my book! If people are interested in checking it out, they can find it at Chalice Press or Amazon

Congratulations to you on your son's wedding; what a joyous occasion! 

 

 

Hi Chris,

Thank you for this blog post.  I like your angle.  We too "vacate" a bit during the summer, as we love to go camping and visit family.  But like you suggest, I'm trying to take more "Sabbath" during my vacation.  Slowing things down, reading more, spending more time in quiet.  We also spend considerable time in our backyard, working in the garden, but also spending time in solitude and silence, in God's creation.  But as much as we enjoy staying home during summer holiday time, we've also learned to get a way a bit, as you'll know that when a pastor is home, he is "on-call."

May the Lord bless our Summer-Sabbath breaks!

--Leon

I once had a wise spiritual director say words to me that I will never forget and that have helped guide my life ever since: She said, "Consider the things that bring you life; consider the things that bring you death; and don't do violence to yourself." Work for me includes both those things that bring life, and those that bring death; and I can tell when the balance gets shifted and I need to make some changes. The Lord has created us with a need for Sabbath, for rest, for the renewing and refreshing of our souls. This blog is thought-provoking for me. What brings life to my soul? A vacation-day or a holy-day?

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